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Meow at me

I had dinner with my old synchronized swimming buddies from college last night.

It was so strange that it had been 3 years since we'd all gotten together. And in a way, it is sad that we are all so busy that years go by in between gatherings, even though most of us live within 20 minutes drive of each other.

The dinner brought back memories:

  • Swimming late at night, air so cold that our breath came out in little clouds every time we surfaced.
  • Listening to music and visualizing choreography...and how that still happens when I hear an interesting new song.
  • My duet partner and I frantically sewing the sequins onto our suits while flying to Ohio for the National competition.
  • Listening to the soft ooh of amazement from the crowd as we executed a complicated maneuver, the lights turned off and they reacted just as we had hoped.
  • Dashing through suit changes during the shows - peeling off wet suits and slipping into dry ones is not easy when you have to hurry, and we often wondered if that security camera over the door was on, and whether they were watching.
  • Feeling smug amusement when those who laughed and claimed that what we were doing was simple, couldn't even stay afloat for the simplest of maneuvers when they finally were coerced into trying.

I read, many years ago, a description of synchronized swimming, written by someone who understood the sport. It is dance in an uncertain medium. Ballet with no floor. Gymnastics without the balance beam or the parallel bars. A graceful test of endurance and the bounds of gravity.

We sat in the restaurant for several hours and laughed and caught up on the past few years. We all posed in a big group as the obliging waitress took our picture with all our cameras, then lingered outside the restaurant, exchanging email addresses, hugging goodbye.

I sat at dinner and listened to them and realized that they all have their kids and houses and all the other trappings of a typical family life, and I felt like somehow they have slipped away from me and gone down this path I will never follow, just as I have gone down a path that is very different from theirs.

I drove home with the songs from our last show together echoing like misty ghosts in my heads. It was bittersweet.